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Justice John Paul Stevens Is Absolutely Wrong about the Second Amendment, Again

March 27, 2018 in Economics

By Ilya Shapiro

Ilya Shapiro

Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens’
New York Times op-ed
calling for the repeal of the
Second Amendment has made quite a stir. It’s one thing for
traumatized teenagers to demand that we “do something” to stop gun
violence, quite another for a distinguished jurist to call for a
fundamental constitutional change.

Yet Stevens effectively agrees with the high-schoolers, arguing
that the rallies they orchestrated last weekend “demand our
respect” because they “reveal the broad public support for
legislation to minimize the risk of mass killings of schoolchildren
and others in our society.”

But what does that mean? Should all schools be on permanent
lockdown, with entrance and exit allowed only if accompanied by a
parent or administrator? Should they be required to have armed
guards — which Parkland did, and they failed to act —
and metal detectors (which many urban schools already have)? Or
maybe we should mandate even higher-level security equipment and
procedures more typically seen on army bases and prisons?

It’s one thing for
traumatized teenagers to demand that we “do something” to stop gun
violence, quite another for a distinguished jurist to call for a
fundamental constitutional change.

Heck, get rid of lockers and any other opaque storage facilities
and make students go to school in their underwear. There are plenty
of things that could “minimize the risk of mass killings” that are
ridiculous nonstarters. For that matter, traffic accidents cause
astronomically more deaths annually than gun crime, so why don’t we
set all speed limits at five miles per hour and institute the death
penalty for DUI?

So we have to be clear about what we’re talking about —
and whether it would indeed “minimize the risk of mass killings.”
Because actually enforcing existing law by updating
background-check databases and investigating suspicious reports
(like they weren’t in the Parkland case), would have prevented a
lot more tragedies than raising the age of purchase, limiting
magazines to 10 rounds, and any other number of “common sense
reforms” now bandied about.

Moreover, you can’t simply legislate all guns away. Even if the
Second Amendment were repealed — which would mean that state
and local bans would be constitutionally permitted, not that guns
would instantly be illegal nationwide — there would still be
more than 300 million firearms out there. Would we send law
enforcement to hunt down the ones that aren’t voluntarily turned
in?

And that’s before you even get to Stevens’ argument that the
“March for Our Lives” is a “sign to lawmakers to enact legislation
prohibiting civilian ownership of semiautomatic weapons.” This
apparently needs repeating every single time gun policy is in the
national …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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